The seven leaders of the member states discussed the US’ latest set of tariffs on Chinese goods as well as joint action on Iran to avoid escalation in the Middle East, with French president Macron surprising everyone with the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif.
The second day of the talks kicked off with the US President Donald Trump’s breakfast with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Aside from the photo which quickly became a viral meme, the two leaders agreed that a trade deal between the US and the UK should happen “once the obstacles in our path” are cleared, Johnson said. Trump added that they were talking about “many different deals”.
The US president also announced later in the day that a fresh trade agreement with Japan might be signed as soon as September. “This is a tremendous deal for the United States. It’s a really tremendous deal for our farmers,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, noting that they successfully reached a consensus on the core elements related to agricultural and industrial trade.
One of the most notable figures of the Biarritz summit has been French President Emmanuel Macron. The politician had earlier called the fires in South America a serious international crisis and criticized his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, for not following his obligations to combat climate change prior to the summit and told reporters that the countries had reached an agreement to help the countries of the Amazon basin to deal with forest fires.
Moreover, as the leaders of seven nations discussed the Iran-related tensions in the Middle East region, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Biarritz at the invitation of French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Zarif did not meet with the American delegation, said the spokesman, yet reportedly held talks with his French counterpart. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Zarif’s visit was “Parallel Event” to G7, while Trump declined to comment. President Emmanuel Macron’s office claimed that all G7 partners had been informed about Zarif’s upcoming visit to Biarritz “as soon as possible”, but noted that it was organised at short notice.
According to Macron, the G7 leaders have agreed to maintain “joint communication” on Iran to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons and avert an escalation of regional tensions. The French president noted that the agreement would “allow them to reconcile their positions” and “avoid disagreements that weaken everyone.” The leaders also reportedly attempted to persuade Trump to reissue oil sanction waivers later at a G7 dinner, yet no agreement was reached.
Another topic discussed in the second day was the trade war between the US and China. While attending the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, US President Donald Trump has stated that he was “not concerned” about the markets’ reaction to his decision to increase existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 25 percent to 30 percent starting 1 October. He added that had no plans to declare a national emergency on China “right now”, even though he has “the right to”, and insisted that despite the spiralling trade dispute, “we’re getting along well right now with China”. Later in the day he added that he “regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” according to his spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.
The second day of the summit was also accompanied by numerous protests near Biarritz. The Sud-Ouest newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the prefecture of the Atlantic Pyrenees department, that French police detained 19 people, mainly for carrying weapons and violence against law enforcement officers. About 200 people marched on Sunday, chanting anti-G7 slogans under the supervision of law enforcement officers, who used a drone and two helicopters to monitor the situation. More than 13,000 French policemen have been called to provide security for the event and its participants.